Posted tagged ‘publishing’

IBPA member titles rock the house at the Public Library Association Conference

April 16, 2012

Following is an excerpt from a report, written by Assistant Director Lisa Krebs, on IBPA’s recent attendance at the PLA  Conference.  More than 125 members exhibited their books in the IBPA booth and many of those also participated in in-booth autographing sessions. Each member who exhibited their title received a full report on the show as well as contact information for the more than 500 librarians who visited the IBPA booth. See the conference in photos on IBPA’s Facebook page and browse the color catalogue of the titles at the IBPA site here

PLA Report

According to Publishers Weekly (3/23/12): More than 8,700 attendees and over 400 exhibitors gathered in Philadelphia, March 13–17, for the Public Library Association 2012 Biennial Conference, and despite lingering discord with publishers over e-books and ever-tightening budget constraints, the mood of the show was upbeat, with a strong slate of popular authors, keynote speakers, and a professional program that focused on advocacy and, of course, books.

From the PLA press release: “As society continues to change the way it consumes information, libraries are on the front lines when it comes to adopting new technologies,” said PLA president Marcia Warner, director of the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library. “The PLA Conference offers librarians from across the nation an opportunity to discuss the changing nature of public libraries and their evolving role in the communities they serve.”

The PLA is one of the most informative shows IBPA attends. The hours are moderate, and the librarians are very focused on collecting information. The next show, PLA’s 15th National Conference will be March 11-15, 2014, in Indianapolis, IN.

As an every other year show, the PLA “travels” the coasts each conference. This time it was the on the East Coast in Philadelphia, PA.  IBPA had a good location near the entrance of the show and close to some popular library vendors. The PLA show is primarily an information gathering show and librarians are “the” information gatherers. Most librarians are very specific in their needs and we help them fill out their lists with the books we had on hand at the booth. Others stand in a certain genre for a period of time, make a detailed list and move on with precision.

Librarians are genuinely interested in the product from independent publishers. Every year, we are approached at the booth by librarians who receive our mailings and tell us how much they appreciate how “one-of-a-kind” and specialized small press titles can be. As one librarian put it, “Independent publishers are the ones with cutting-edge and unique product.” Some librarians gravitated towards the booth just because they saw the word “independent” and wanted to show support and have a look.

It was also great to hear that the librarians are using and appreciate the IBPA flyer programs. Many told us that they pass the fliers to their colleagues and hold onto them for future purchases for their collections. This year, we took a straw poll about how these librarian specialists prefer to receive catalogs and information about your titles – Print or Email? We asked men and women, new and seasoned and the answer was the same. Surprisingly, while a few like getting email catalogs, the result was two-to-one in favor of still receiving print.

Here are some of the comments:

–        “I prefer print because I like to mark it up.”

–        “I get too many emails—prefer print.”

–        “Print catalogues stack up in my office—I’d much rather have e-catalogues”

–        “No matter what the format, easy ISBN access is critical.”

–        “I can more easily share print catalogues with my colleagues.”

Some interesting notes from the show:

  • Send posters to libraries, lots of posters – with useful information and web addresses. Librarians will definitely put them up, especially if it ties in with a certain week, month or holiday.
  • A review from one of the following magazines is the stamp of approval that is often needed to write a purchase order: Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Booklist. Other magazines, newspapers and websites are used as well, but one of these magazines will definitely influence a purchase. Therefore, if you have received a review in any of these publications, please make sure it is prominent in any promotion you send to the library.
  • Moreover, reviews in general are very necessary for acquisition. It is suggested to get reviews from your local librarian, experts in your field, people of merit in your industry or genre. Even other publishers, if they are well known in the genre, are good review sources.
  • “Independent” is “in” and has been popular for librarians, but especially now. So, make sure that your paperwork, brochures, website, etc. contain the words “Independent” and “Indie” publisher.

Specific interests voiced this year were in specific health issues, young adult and reference titles, although the entire stand received well-deserved attention.

The books at the IBPA booth this year were donated to Better World Books after the show. All proceeds from the books will go to help generate funding for Plan USA’s relief and educational programs in Haiti. Plan USA has been working in Haiti since 1973. They were recently selected by the Haitian government to implement the country’s education restoration effort alongside the Ministry of Education, UN agencies, local and international NGO partner

View the PLA Facebook page with photos

 

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Terms of Engagement–Amazon and IPG

February 24, 2012

Amazon has withdrawn from sale Kindle versions of IPG client publishers’ titles after IPG, the second-largest independent book distributor, declined to accept new selling terms that, as IPG Mark Suchomel said to IPG client publishers, “would have substantially changed your revenue.” See coverage in Shelf AwarenessPW Daily and Crain’s .

IPG President Mark Suchomel pointed out in a bulletin to IPG client publishers that “Amazon.com is putting pressure on publishers and distributors to change their terms for electronic and print books to be more favorable toward Amazon. Our electronic book agreement recently came up for renewal, and Amazon took the opportunity to propose new terms for electronic and print purchases that would have substantially changed your revenue from the sale of both. It’s obvious that publishers can’t continue to agree to terms that increasingly reduce already narrow margins. I have spoken directly with many of our clients and every one of them agrees that we need to hold firm with the terms we now offer.”

Suchomel  urges IPG clients to “support accounts that support your business. Ask the organizations you support to do the same. Remind family and friends of the value to our society of independent voices and ideas, and that independent publishers and bookstores need to be supported or they will go away.”

He goes on to say “Remember that Amazon continues to be an important account that sells a lot of units. This is a business decision on Amazon’s part, and hopefully they will soon decide to reverse it and buy at our standard terms.”

Certainly independent publishers value their relationships with all trading partners, but that relationship can’t be at the expense of their livelihood. We at IBPA are especially concerned with the impact that ever-declining profit margins have on the smaller independent publisher who is least able to absorb it. We commend IPG for its support of the independent publishing community and for shining the spotlight on this critical issue.

We welcome comments from our members and others.

 

The Other Bunch of IBPA Publishing University Payoffs

February 20, 2012

By Tom Doherty

Thinking about my experiences at IBPA Publishing University over the years, and anticipating this year’s University, I realized that the event helps my business in two broad ways.

It helps me meet the challenges I know I face today. When I have recognized a problem I need to solve, a gap in my knowledge I need to fill, or an opportunity I want to explore, IBPA Publishing University seminars are a source of new insights and information. I learn what peers are doing to take advantage of new technologies, to manage costs, to seize new opportunities, and to gain a firmer grasp on a rapidly changing marketplace.

I encourage you browse the IBPA Publishing University website to see all the great seminars designed to meet the challenges you know you face today.

But IBPA Publishing University also helps me — and other publishers — accomplish things that might not be captured by seminar titles, and that we might not have thought about including in a IBPA Publishing University agenda.

For example, it helps me manage and motivate my staff, learn which IBPA programs would be valuable to my company, make and strengthen relationships with peers and industry experts, psych myself up to learn about that one aspect of the business that I dread, and affirm my strengths.

The Power of Me Plus

The first time I took a staff member to IBPA Publishing University I was a sales and marketing manager and my colleague had recently joined our team as a marketing assistant. Bringing this assistant saved many, many hours of training and served as a powerful motivator for someone who would become an outstanding employee.

As a bonus, it freed up time for me to focus on non-marketing seminars and networking opportunities.

Since that first time I have taken other employees to IBPA Publishing University to encourage, motivate and educate.  Every time, I left feeling that the money spent paid immediate and tangible dividends by reducing training time for these employees, increasing their self-confidence and encouraging high performance.

Picking Programs

During my first few years as an IBPA member, the only benefits I took advantage of were the discounts for IBPA Publishing University and my subscription to the Independent.  Although I would still be a member today just to get these two benefits, I now use a great many others as well. Talking with other attendees at IBPA Publishing University has provided a great way to find out firsthand which programs worked best for which publishers.

Several years back at an IBPA Publishing University luncheon, the people I was sharing a table with were griping about how difficult and expensive it is to reach librarians when somebody spoke favorably about the IBPA library flyer mailings.  So I signed up for the next one, and since then we have participated in many IBPA mailings.  I can’t imagine a more cost-effective way of reaching a large audience of book buyers.

IBPA membership benefits go well beyond marketing and promotion, to deal with shipping, distribution, insurance, and legal, editorial and financial matters. Because the best mix of benefits varies from publisher to publisher, it can be difficult to know where to start. Reports from those who have used specific benefits can be a big help.

A Wealth of Ways to Interact

Networking is always on my to-do list.  Of course, social media now offer many options for networking, but there is still nothing like doing it face to face.  The beauty of IBPA Publishing University is that it brings together people at every level of publishing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, I guarantee you’ll meet people just like you at IBPA Publishing University, people working through the same challenges and opportunities that you are facing.

At IBPA Publishing University you can be mentor, mentee, peer or some combination of each.  I have never found a better environment for meeting people in the business. It provides a place you can let your guard down and establish professional rapport with people who appreciate the art and science of publishing as you do.

Bearding a Bugaboo

So far, I have been focusing on what you can do besides attend the seminars at IBPA Publishing University, but I do one thing about the seminars that I encourage you to do: Explore something you dread.  I sign up for at least one seminar covering a topic I have avoided because it seemed uninteresting or complicated.  And that’s one reason I now know much more about social media than I used to know.

Think about the one thing you like least about your job, and explore that at an IBPA Publishing University seminar.  It might be the only time you deal with the topic all year.  Then again, it might be the start you’ve needed to reveal that what you dread is helpful instead of scary.

Building Confidence

Finally, I want to emphasize that IBPA Publishing University builds the confidence we all need to make faster and better decisions. It provides an important way of getting feedback about things you do know as well as a way to explore what you don’t.

So my best advice from experience is: Sign up for all those seminars you’re looking forward to plus one you might normally avoid; take advantage of every available benefit beyond the seminars, and bear in mind that the confidence you gain by learning new things and validating what you already know can make all the difference in your performance and job satisfaction in the year ahead.

Tom Doherty has been president of Cardinal Publishers Group since 2000 and publisher of Blue River Press since 2004.  Prior to Cardinal Publishers Group Tom worked in publishing for nearly 20 years including eight in book distribution with Time-Warner and The Hearst Corporation.  During his time at Cardinal Publishers Group, a full service distributor, Tom launched more than fifty new imprints.  As publisher of Blue River Press he published notable New York Times bestselling authors James Alexander Thom and Jack D. Hunter as well as category non-fiction and regional best sellers. Tom serves on the IBPA board of directors.

Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler and Berrett-Koehler Publisher and President Steve Piersanti to keynote the 24th Annual IBPA Publishing University in San Francisco March 9-10

February 10, 2012

For immediate release:

Otis Chandler, founder and CEO of Goodreads, the home of more than 7 million members who have added more than 250,000,000 books to their virtual shelves, will be the Saturday, March 10 luncheon keynote speaker for the 24th annual IBPA Publishing University in San Francisco on March 9-10. Chandler will speak in a “Fireside Chat” format hosted by Michael Wolf, Vice President of digital publishing at GigaOM and commentator for such outlets as CNBC and Bloomberg TV on technology market trends.

Kicking off the IBPA Publishing University on Friday, March 9, will be the opening keynote presented by Steve Piersanti, founder, president and publisher of Berrett Koehler.  Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012, Berrett-Koehler is a leading independent publisher of progressive books on current affairs, personal growth, and business and management and a pioneer in the digital publishing arena.

Chandler and Piersanti join more than 50 industry experts who will present a day and a half of programs designed to provide publishers of all sizes with the hands-on, how-to tools they need to promote, market and sell more books

Highlights of IBPA Publishing University include:

  • More than 20 sessions including the hottest how-to topics in publishing led by industry experts in sales, marketing, social media, copyright and more
  • The back-by-popular demand “E-magination” panel of  industry prognosticators weighing in on what’s new and next in social media
  • Early bird session featuring Dan Poynter, publishing authority and author of The Self  Publishing Manual”
  • The opportunity for attendees to “Ask the Experts” in their own private consulting session by appointment
  • A dedicated track of sessions designed to guide self-published authors and brand new publishers in choosing their best options

For additional information, session details, photos and information, visit IBPA Publishing University  http://www.ibpapublishinguniversity.com

Founded in 1983, the Independent Book Publishers Association  http://www.ibpa-online.org is the largest not-for-profit trade organization for publishers in the United States, serving more than 2700 book publishers of all sizes. IBPA’s mission is to help independent publishers market their titles, to provide education on all aspects of publishing, and to act as an advocate for publishers’ rights.

World Book Night wants YOU

January 29, 2012

World Book Night is a campaign to find light or non-readers across America all on one day – April 23 – and hand them each a book. Person-to-person. To get more people reading.

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which will see tens of thousands of passionate volunteers give away books in their communities to share their love of reading. Successfully launched in the U.K. in 2011, World Book Night will also be celebrated in the U.S. and Germany on April 23, 2012, with more countries to come in future years.

How does World Book Night work? 

In the U.S., 30 titles have already been specially chosen by a panel of booksellers and librarians and will be printed in special World Book Night paperback editions. Givers apply to give away a particular book (you get a first, second and third choice) and they must commit to give them away to those who don’t regularly read in order to share and spread their love of reading. Each giver receives 20 copies which they pick up from their local bookshop and library the week before April 23.

The greatest reading journeys start when you put a book in to someone’s hand and say ‘this one’s amazing, you have to read it’ and by applying to be a giver you can help World Book Night give that experience to new readers on April 23. World Book Night, through social media and traditional publicity, will also promote the value of reading, of printed books, and of bookstores and libraries to everyone year-round.

Why April 23? 

April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is the date of the birth and death of Shakespeare, as well as the day Cervantes died. It is in their honor that UNESCO appointed it the International Day of the Book and now been chosen to also celebrate World Book Night.

Be a part of World Book Night! Go to http://www.worldbooknight.org/ to sign up to be a giver, and to learn all about this fabulous program. All you need to become a giver is a little time, a love of books, and the desire to give something to your community. Think about where you’d like to give away the books before you go online to apply. Be creative. And thank you!

The deadline to sign up is February 1st! And yes, you can give your books away during the day of April 23rd as well as in the evening.

For more information, visit http://www.worldbooknight.org/


 

Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library–What Does it Mean For Publishers? IBPA Wants to Know What You Think

November 21, 2011

Following are two perspectives on the Kindle Lending Library. The first piece entitled “Controversy Rages: Amazon to Lend Books” was originally written by IBPA Board Chair Stephen Blake Mettee for his blog, The Write Thought and appears here with his permission. The second piece, written by IBPA President Florrie Binford Kichler, raises some questions for publishers and a request for feedback. We want to know what publishers think about the Amazon Kindle Lending Library so please leave your comments!

Controversy Rages: Amazon to Lend Books

by Stephen Blake Mettee

There’s been quite a ruckus in the book publishing world lately. Amazon.com has recently announced its long-anticipated foray into lending e-books.

Kindle owners who are also Amazon Prime members, in addition to getting free two-day shipping on their orders and “unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows,” can also borrow books to read without an additional payment (Amazon Prime membership costs $79 per year). There doesn’t appear to be any limit on how long a book can be borrowed but only one book can be borrowed at a time.

Amazon says its lending library offers over 5,000 titles including 100 New York Times bestsellers. This is a far cry from the millions of print titles available on Amazon or the hundreds of thousands of e-books available as Kindle editions, but it is a toe in the water and publishers, authors, and literary agents are nervous.

How’s it work?

Amazon Prime members who are also Kindle owners are now presented with a “Borrow for Free” button next to the “Buy” button on selected books. When the member chooses to borrow a title, Amazon credits the publisher’s account with the same dollar amount as if the e-book was sold rather than loaned. At this point, the Amazon Prime member gets to read the book as a part of his or her yearly fee and the publisher effectively gets a full-priced sale.

So, why the controversy?

This sounds fair to me. I’d sign The Write Thought titles up. So why the hubbub?

I think the concern from the publishers—most publishers with titles among those available for loan weren’t notified that their titles would be included in this program—is that they haven’t agreed to Amazon “lending” titles even if Amazon pays as if they sold it.

Also, apparently Amazon plans to report revenue from this program to publishers as a lump sum leaving the publishers to allocate this revenue their authors. Amazon is said to be basing this lump sum by looking at the 12-month sales history of titles included in the program. A rather nebulous reporting method at best.

I think the Authors Guild and the Association of Authors’ Representatives (literary agents), two groups that have spoken out about this, are concerned since most contracts between authors and publishers have a set royalty paid to the author based on revenue from each e-books sale, say 25% of net revenue and a different amount on revenue generated from rights sales, say 50% of net.

The question being, which is this? Revenue from the sale of a book or revenue from a subsidiary right? And, of course, how is a publisher to properly allocate each of its author’s revenue share if Amazon doesn’t supply a complete breakdown by title?

Another concern, of course, is if this is simply Amazon’s first salvo; will Amazon attempt to morph the program into something else. For instance, can Amazon purchase one copy of an e-book and “lend” or “rent” it as many times as it likes? Pay the publisher once and rent or loan it many times. Libraries do this and many years ago so did bookstores.

The world is still hazy when it comes to e-books.

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Kindle Lending Library—What Does it Mean for Publishers?

by Florrie Binford Kichler

Amazon recently announced that it was going to begin “lending” e-books to its Amazon Prime customers.

Quoting from Amazon’s news release:

“With an Amazon Prime membership, Kindle owners can now choose from thousands of books to borrow for free – including over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers – as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates.”

“Titles in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library come from a range of publishers under a variety of terms. For the vast majority of titles, Amazon has reached agreement with publishers to include titles for a fixed fee. In some cases, Amazon is purchasing a title each time it is borrowed by a reader under standard wholesale terms as a no-risk trial to demonstrate to publishers the incremental growth and revenue opportunity that this new service presents.”

The Big Six publishers did not sign onto the Lending Library program. The Author’s Guild contends that nonetheless Amazon has included many publishers’ titles (not the Big Six) without the publisher’s permission. In addition, the Guild says that those publishers who have submitted their books to the Lending Library program “signed licensing agreements with Amazon for a selection of their titles, providing for a flat annual fee per title. While these publishers generally have the right to license e-book uses for many of their authors’ titles (just as most trade publishers do), our reading of the standard terms of these contracts is that they do not have the right to do so without the prior approval of the books’ authors.”

The Guild says that such a “bulk licensing program” is outside the scope of most publishing contracts and that publishers need to get permission from their authors to participate along with a contract amendment. They urge their members to contact their publishers if their books are in the Kindle Lending Library program.

The Bigger Picture

The reality is that Amazon has leveled the playing field for smaller publishers, enabling them to reach readers online in huge numbers, and publish their content quickly, easily and efficiently.

But at what cost?

The Author’s Guild claims that Amazon has included publishers’ titles in the Kindle Lending Program without consent but no publishers to this point have confirmed that publicly. If that is indeed the case, should Amazon have asked first? Or, as the company says, is “purchasing a title each time it is borrowed by a reader” plus a flat licensing fee simply another sale under standard contract terms, requiring no special handling?

“Purchasing a title each time it is borrowed by a reader” sounds like a sale, which is a good thing.  But could Amazon decide to begin lending titles more than once to multiple readers without compensating the publisher (and the author)? And if so, what recourse would publishers have?

More questions than answers. What do you think? Is the Kindle Lending Library a way for Amazon to increase device sales at the publisher’s and author’s expense or a “no-risk trial to demonstrate to publishers the incremental growth and revenue opportunity that this new service presents.”? Are you currently participating in the Kindle Lending Library and if so, how’s your experience been so far?  Would you include your titles if asked?

Let us know by commenting on this blog. Member feedback will help determine  IBPA’s  position on this issue.

Christopher Hitchens–the art of writing and dying

July 19, 2011

by Stephen Blake Mettee, Board Chair, IBPA

I don’t subscribe to Vanity Fair, but, like with the New Yorker (To which I also don’t subscribe; I quit my subscription as a minor vice on which I both spent too much time and felt guilty for not spending more—the darn thing comes weekly!), whenever I crack the cover, I find remarkable writing.

It was no different when a friend loaned (or is it “lent”) me the June issue of Vanity Fair. Christopher Hitchens, who has spent the past year “living dyingly,” has written an intimate piece that is at once poignant journal and solid writing advice.

To set the stage, Hitchens, who has written critiques for a number of magazines and is known for his controversial and confrontational debating style, opens with a few lines of T.S, Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”:

I have seen the moment of my greatness
flicker.

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold
my coat, and snicker.

And in short, I was afraid.

Hitchens’ says he doesn’t “so much object to his holding my coat in that marked manner, as if mutely reminding me that it’s time to be on my way. No, it’s the snickering that gets me down.”

The snickering of “a teasing special of the day, or a flavor of the month. It might be random sores and ulcers, on the tongue or in the mouth. Or why not a touch of peripheral neuropathy, involving numb and chilly feet?”

An atheist—he prefers the term “antitheist”—Hitchens likens the effects of his cancer to the wooden-legged piglet that belonged to a “sadistically sentimental family that could bear to eat him only a chunk at a time.”

The latest chunk to be devoured was his voice. Literally. The cancer, in attacking his vocal cords, struck him dumb “like a silly cat that had abruptly lost its meow.”

Hitchens says he owes a “vast debt” (I’m quoting a “vast” bit from the article because I so enjoy Hitchens’ exacting word choices. A level to which all of we-who-write should so aspire.) to an early critic who advised he should write “more like the way that you talk.”

I remember a 1960s high school English class where we were taught to take the “I” out of our essays. I guess we were being taught to emulate the mind-numbing high school text books they issued us.

IMHO, in everything you write, write like you are in the room with the reader discussing a subject you are passionate about. Let the “you” come through. Your opinions, your views, your biases (okay, keep your biases out of straight journalistic reporting), your vocabulary.

Make the reader feel you. Put the “I” into your writing.

Hitchens advises: “If something is worth hearing or listening to, it’s very probably worth reading. So, this above all: Find your own voice.”

Get a copy of the June Vanity Fair and read Hitchen’s article. It’s both a lesson in writing and a lesson in dying.

Just a write thought.